A Privilege and a Responsibility
It isn’t a revelation for any of us that moderation and simplicity are core elements of Moravian teaching. Living out our faith in daily ways that indicate our love for the Lamb as well as all his sheep and pasture is a clear indication of what drives us as a body of Christ. Simplicity and moderation coupled with our idea of community provides the structure for our living in this world.
From the very beginning, in the garden, we find God creating our amazing world, our home, planting us in it, together, and then bestowing the privilege and responsibility of the stewardship of his glorious creation upon us. Having recently come through the amazing season of fall in the Carolinas, we know nothing could be finer, as the song says, and it gives us an annual gift and reminder of the power, creativity, generosity and sovereignty of God. We are shepherds standing in the field with our mouths agape at the beauty.
It is time to close our mouths and set our shoulder to the great task of taking care of this amazing gift, our planet. There are many reasons to do it: we’ve been given the gifts and talents necessary to do so, future generations, self preservation, altruism, etc. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the most respected source of objective, peer-reviewed data analysis with scientists from more than 40 countries contributing and they continue to report the effects of climate change: drought, a warming planet, rising sea levels, extreme weather events, global food scarcity, species annihilation, poor air and water quality, etc.
As disturbing as all that data is, the greatest motivation to be good stewards is that God entrusted it to us and tasked us with caring for it, as we read in Genesis 1 and 2. Sprinkled liberally through our Book of Worship are liturgies and hymns on the importance of taking care of God’s Creation. These are not suggestions from God but rather a part of His covenant with us and we will be evaluated on how we used everything He gives us. Some of the meaningful passages from our liturgies I pondered as I prepared this month’s offering were these:
Let our lives resound with the wonder and beauty of all that God has been creating from the beginning. As caretakers of creation, may we learn anew to enjoy the land, preserve the water, respect all living creatures, and meditate upon the grandeur of open sky and sea. Teach us, God of creation, to walk the earth with gratitude and wisdom. P. 156. Stewardship.
For the creation itself and the nourishment we receive from its resources; for the seedtime and harvest, sunshine and rain, oceans and forests; for the wondrous way in which we are woven into the environment, we give you thanks, Creator God. P. 157. Stewardship.
All-knowing Creator, from whom comes every good and perfect gift, we praise you for the wisdom, power, and love displayed in the natural universe and in humanity, whom you have placed within it to care for it and nurture it. P. 128 Education.
Gracious God, thank you for the goodness of creation—for the variety, the beauty, and the delicate complexity of life, your creation! Forgive us for the times we have not appreciated or cared for all you have given to us. Open our eyes; restore our hearts; and bring us back into relationship with you, the earth, and all of life. P. 43 General Liturgy 7: Celebration.
In this last passage we see the idea that being in proper relationship with God requires our stewardship of His Creation. Improper stewardship of God’s creation results in a break in our relationship with God. Being aware of that brokenness and how to repair it is the ornery challenge we wrestle with as human beings holding different perspectives, motives, knowledge, comprehension, etc. Thank goodness we can rely on God to guide us for when we truly seek Him and His guidance He will supply. May we all seek His leading so that we are in full relationship with Him.
—Submitted by Helen Bushnell Beets for the Earth Stewards Team.